Every December, some of the best developers in the Mac community collect at Winterfest and offer their apps for 25% off. It’s a great time to pick up a program or two that you might have been thinking about but put off due to the cost.
There are 18 apps on offer this year, including four that are in near-constant usage in our house.
Scrivener is the single program I would take with me if I were trapped on a desert island with only my laptop and a solar-powered battery. It is absolutely, 100% indispensable to my writing process. I’ve been using it since the original beta back in 2006. It’s not just for novels, either — my wife writes her academic articles on it, lawyers love it for writing up briefs and collecting research for a case, screenwriters adore it…the list goes on. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
HoudahSpot does one thing and does it magically. It’s a file search program. Need to find a file but can only remember part of the name? No problem. Can’t remember the name at all but know a string of words inside the document? Watch the magic. If you had an essay on Hamlet and typed in “Alas, poor Yorick,” HoudahSpot would nail that file in a hot second.
My wife swears by Bookends, which manages her zillion sources for bibliographies. It’s powerful and integrates perfectly with her Mac workflow (and she’s picky about things like that).
Nisus Writer Pro is the top Mac word processor and has rescued me from MS Word bondage. It has best-in-class Track Changes that is not only compatible with Word, but is also far easier to use (and prettier). It benefits by not trying to pack in everything including the kitchen sink, so it has a much simpler interface than the Microsoft behemoth, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ridiculously powerful (and incredibly customizable).
The other 14 apps on sale include such powerhouses as BBEdit, DEVONthink Pro Office and DEVONagent Pro, Scapple, TextExpander, PDFpen…oh, just go over and look. If you’re a Mac user or know one, this might take care of a few Christmas gifts.